Digital Microfilm and Fiche Scanners in Archive Searchrooms #AskAnArchivist

The 4 October 2017 was Ask An Archivist Day, an annual Twitter event organised by the Society of American Archivists with participants worldwide.  This year I asked 35 county archives in the UK this question:

Do you have microform scanners for searchroom users? #AskAnArchivist

Of the 24 responses, only 8 have digital scanners.  In hindsight I should have been clearer with my question. I wanted to know which archives have digital scanners capable of producing high quality digital images, so users can leave the archive with copies of microfilm or microfiche on a USB stick.

Hertfordshire Archives @HertsArchives and Teesside Archives @TeessideArchive illustrated their replies with pictures of their scanners.  This is basic equipment that every archive needs.

digital scanner twitter screenshots

Microfilm is an old technology, super-ceded by digital photography.  Microfilm and fiche readers are horrible to use and print-outs from readers are woefully poor quality.  As spare parts become ever more difficult to find, readers fall into disrepair.  Please, dear archivists, direct your money toward modern equipment, not old readers.  Consider getting together to make bulk purchases.

Archive users are document scholars, whose study is limited by poor quality copies.  Give users a reason to #LoveYourArchive!


© Sue Adams 2017